*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Architects, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/architects.htm (visited March 24, 2022).
While this answer used to be four years to earn a B.S. Degree in Architecture, this was when most students attended their classes on-campus full time. Now, students have some additional choices, including the online option. Depending on how an individual university has this structured, an undergraduate student who takes at least 15 credit hours each semester can earn their degree in close to four years. However, most students decide to take only the minimum 12 credit hours per semester. This makes their program run close to five or even six years. Depending upon how flexible the university is with courses being offered (and how long a term or semester runs), students can anticipate graduating in five years, on average.
Before choosing a major there are some important facts you should know about.
In general, you can begin your career as a Architecture by earning a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Architecture, but in many cases for the position you are seeking you may need to obtain a master's degree in Architecture. Furthermore, there are numerous specializations and subfields associated with a major in Architecture. You will want to research the college or university to determine if they have the major you are considering.
This is a very important question to ask yourself. Your major should play a big part in the schools you are considering. Not every college may offer the major of your choice, so doing your homework is the first step of the selection process.
Before you declare a major in Architecture, you should have an idea of what kind of timeframe you're looking at. If you are trying to achieve an associate degree, you will only need to finish about 60 credit hours over 2 years. However, if you are going for you bachelor's (B.S. or B.A.) degree in Architecture, you will need to complete 120 credit hours over four years. And, if you want to attain a master's degree as well, you will have to finish your bachelors first and then spend around 2 years completing 60 more credit hours. Some of the coursework you will find in a typical Architecture degree are:
Only 41% of students actually manage to finish their Architecture degree on time. There are a variety of factors that could potentially play a part in unexpectedly extending your college career, such as:
Work. Working over 25 hours per week can get in the way of academics.
Credit Hours. Most colleges will define a full course load as 12 credit hours per semester. If you do the math, you will see that you actually need to take 15 credit hours per semester in order to graduate on time.
Transferring. Many students end up transferring during their college career. Many times, there are hiccups with transferring credits. This can put you behind, or even cause you to end up losing your credits altogether.
Be aware of these common mistakes, so that you don't make them yourself.
Accreditation is an important part of selecting a school for Architecture education. Much depends on accreditation and the type of accreditation. There are two main types of accreditation; regional and national. Regional accreditation agencies work with research-based schools, private schools, public schools, and some for-profit schools. National accreditation works primarily with for-profit and career-related education.
There are two types of regional accreditation; they are Architecture program accreditation and institutional accreditation. Institutional accreditation uses a group of states as the base to compare the school with other colleges and universities; the group of states comprises the region assigned by the Department of Education.
Programmatic Accreditation looks at specific programs or parts of a college or university. This type of accreditation has the same type of respect and acceptance as regional accreditation for institutions. Regional employers and other educational institutions regard regional accreditation as proof of high-quality education.
National accreditation has a Faith-based branch and a career- related education branch. Faith-based institutions have a different set of standards that recognize the role of faith in instruction. The for-profit branch of national accreditation covers the special purpose and non-traditional schools such as vocational schools. The career-related education requires standards that place appropriate weight on general knowledge and education. Some regionally accredited schools do not accept credits from career-related schools.
Did you know that your salary is not always just based on what level of degree you received, but it also could be based on what school you attended? Many employers actually have their own rankings and rating systems of schools. That is to say, if you received your degree from a college that was accredited by a low rated agency, your salary may actually be decreased by a certain percentage where a high-ranked, well-known, accredited school, can raise that mark significantly.
The cost will depend on several factors. Are you pursuing your Architecture degree online or in a traditional setting? If you attend your courses on campus, you will also need to pay for food, room and board, and other fees. This can increase the cost of your Architecture education significantly unless you have a plan in place to keep these costs low. If you attend a public, state school, it will depend on whether or not you are a resident. In-state students usually pay much lower rates than out-of-state students. However, this can be overcome by attending classes online, as most institutions charge in-state rates for all online courses. Either way, you need to research the costs for each Bachelors of Architecture program you are considering applying to, as each institution will have their own rates.
Schools can provide valuable assistance for Architecture graduates that seek employment after graduation. The programs can be formal, such as job banks and employment centers that present graduating students and graduate credentials to prospective employers and host interviews.
Depending on the college, they may have resources that can enhance employment and career opportunities for their Architecture graduates. Most schools have an extended community of alumni, donors, and corporate and business support. Alumni groups offer opportunities for networking as well as for sharing information and experiences. The corporate and business community support may include opportunities for internships or other hands-on learning experiences.